Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Archives

The  Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections is home to the Archives of several friends groups and concerned  individuals who have worked tirelessly over the years to bring the schooner to international attention and to work raising funds to restore and staff the vessel.   The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey  has enjoyed three long distinguished careers and is currently in her fourth.  She has carried fishermen, explorers, scientists, native Inuit, polar bears, walrus, Navy men, oceanographers, Cape Verdean immigrants, and goods bound for Africa.  Built in 1894 in Essex, Massachusetts, the Effie M. Morrissey began her life as a strong, hard-working fishing schooner.  She sailed first out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and later out of Nova Scotia, plying the North Atlantic through hurricanes and snowstorms, hauling in catches of herring, cod, and haddock.  In 1924 the Morrissey changed careers.  Under the command of Caption Robert Bartlett, the refitted schooner embarked on a series of explorations of the Arctic.  The explorers, scientists, and students aboard made significant discoveries and collected substantial data about Arctic life. 

After serving as a supply and survey ship for the United States Navy during World War II, the Morrissey was sold in 1948 to Henrique Mendes.  Renamed the Ernestina, she began her third career in the Cape Verde Packet Trade.  The Ernestina would carry passengers and goods to and from Africa, the United States, and Cape Verde for almost 20 years.  Despite her age and increasing maintenance costs, she continued to sail into the 1970s as a packet among the Cape Verdean Islands.

In August of 1982 the Ernestina-Morrissey, partially restored, sailed to Newport, Rhode Island.  Her rebuilding had been accomplished  through the contribution of years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Cape Verdean government and her friends on both sides of the Atlantic.  As a symbol of friendship, the Ernestina-Morrissey was given by the people of Cape Verde to the people of the United States, with the stipulation that she be used for educational, cultural, and community development.

For current photographs and information on the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, go to

For the online historical timeline created by Eric and Gregg Swanzey in 2005, go to


The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  The official records of the Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) are housed at the DCR Archives, as are the records of staff and educators who have work on the schooner since its donation to the U.S. in 1982.  The Schooner will be berthed at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Archives at UMass Dartmouth are processed into several interrelated collections, each with a finding aid.  See the finding aid database at

The image collection is available online in the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Digital Archives.

Selected collections in the Archives:

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

Photographic Collection, 1894-present, PC 16

Frederick C.N. Littleton (1924-2010)
Photograph Album, 1940, MC 117

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Oral History collection, MC 122

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey
Educational Programming Materials,1989-2004, MC 128